Author Archives: sophiecha

Olympic suburbs audio slideshow

Public to name Olympic suburbs

Here’s a good audio slideshow from the BBC on the plans for the areas around the Olympic stadium and what they will look like.

There is a voiceover, rather than Q and A, done by Duncan Innes, from the Olympic Park Legacy Company. The images are a mixture of shots of the state of the areas now and artistic impressions of what the suburbs will look like.

The slideshow is done particularly well because they match what Innes is saying to the images with great precision e.g. when he says one area will be very close to the cycling facilities, we are on an artist’s impression of the velodrome and cycling track etc. A couple of seconds later, Innes says it will be close to the station – and we get a close up shot of Stratford station.

Timing is clearly everything – and just as important here as it is with voiceovers for video footage. I get the impression the voiceover was recorded first then the images were timed to fit.

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Briton in Libya – BBC Radio 4’s Today online audio clips

British Libyan ‘willing to die for country’s freedom’

The above link is to the Today programme page on the BBC website. It’s categorised as news and available to listen to via one click from the Watch/Listen section on the News homepage – so you don’t have to type in Radio 4, Today programme to get to this audio package.

Even though it’s radio, I think this 6 min or so clip is a really good example to aim for. There is a one-line summary with more details below the clip – using the well known name Lord Goldsmith to entice users to press play.

Within the clip itself, there is a clear introduction to the current situation in Libya and the first interviewee, Rashed, a Briton fighting for the rebels, which ends in a question. Then the interviewee goes straight into answering this question. There is background noise of men talking which gives the clip a sense of place without making the answer difficult to hear.

The next voice we hear is the journalist Kevin Connolly in Libya asking – “do your Mum and Dad know you are here?” This provides a good soundbite – “I’ve come here for Libya.” There are some pauses in Rashed’s answers but Connolly never speaks over him. The interviewee Rashed, does start to interrupt him on some more controversial questions such as – “But defending yourself might mean you have to kill someone?” Connolly finishes his sentences but then gives way to his interviewee.

They wrap the interviewee up on a soundbite too: “we see nothing but victory” which the presenter neatly repeats to segue into his next section on the government. He again asks an open question (of himself, for the listeners to think about). He then introduces the second interviewee, Lord Goldsmith, who is in the Westminster studio.

The questions and answers now are much longer and much more complex than the simple, one-idea questions asked of Rashed. As with most political interviews, there is more interrupting which listeners will be used to. The clip ends on one of Lord Goldsmith’s answers.

 

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BBC College of Journalism on choosing audio clips

This video guide is geared towards radio but it is still helpful for online audio. Julian Vaccari, a BBC journalist, takes us through the essentials for a fast turnaround of audio clips – especially helpful for news.

BBC College of Journalism – Audio Clips Guide

His main points are:

– Be prepared and anticipate the story.

– Listen to a piece of audio in full before you select your clip. If it is a speech, make sure you listen to the Q and A afterwards.

– Think about what you are using the clip for when you select the duration

– Choose the best quality clips, with no glitches etc

– Listen out for details that move a story on and include these in your audio clip

– Include any memorable or colourful phrases

– Cut out words that don’t add anything like ‘I believe’ and ‘The report concludes that’

– If you make internal cuts, do take out coughing, long pauses and swearing but be sure not to alter the meaning of the speaker in your clip

 

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Filed under Audio editing, Interviews, Radio

Ten tips for recording audio

Ten things to think about before you record any audio and whilst the recording is going on. These also apply when recording video footage where you will use the audio..

1. Brief your interviewees so they know what to expect

2. Choose your location carefully: background noises can ruin your interview

3. BUT  can also get across a particular place if done right so experiment

4. Record any interesting sounds that you might use later to switch between interviewees/ show that time has moved on

5. With intros and voiceovers (which can be recorded later) make sure you set the scene

6. INCLUDE THE QUESTION IN YOUR ANSWER IF YOU ARE GOING TO EDIT YOURSELF OUT

7. Get used to not interrupting – this is harder than it sounds

8. Don’t try to trick the listener with subtle editing. There’s nothing wrong with a few ‘um’s from your interviewee. If they are listening to your clip on headphones, they’re more likely to hear if you’ve edited the audio.

9. Get an external mic/spoffle to reduce the ‘pop’ of talking

10. A digital dictaphone is best, but if you’re stuck with nothing else your smartphone will probably do.

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Filed under Audio editing, Equipment, Uncategorized

5 uses of audio online

A quick note from the expertise that is a Paul Bradshaw lecture. There are certain pieces that work especially well in audio online:

1. DEBATE – record an event where some kind of debate is taking place. Audio suits conflict.

2. BANTER – oh, yes. Audio is perfect for this. Get a straight “man” and a funny “man” and you’re good to go. Set up and scores, Q&As – anything that relies on joking and interaction.

3. INTERVIEWS – this one goes without saying.

4. MONOLOGUE – reflection can also work well on Audio. This can work well with micropodcasting on services like Audioboo.

5. POTPOURRI – this is Paul’s term for any audio piece with a mix of items. See commerical podcasts which have around a minute of adverts like Jeff Jarvis’ Buzzmachine. It is more like a radio talk show.

 

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India’s twitter by telephone

How to do citizen journalism effectively for a community in India which has no written literature and whose language, Gondi, is endangered?

In Chhattisgarh (Central Gondwana) India an inventive non-profit service called CGNet Swara allows members of this tribal community to listen to and record local news in audio  – using the telephone (landline or mobile). Three journalists verify, moderate, edit and publish the audio. It’s been going for a year now, since February 2010 and they now receive over 3,000 calls a month.

The developer, Shubhranshu Choudhary, told editorandpublisher.com that when one citizen report raised the issue of the government not paying teachers for 6 months, within 10 days the teachers were paid. He said, “The response is well beyond our expectation, so it looks like the right model for those areas.”

Other news topics include school closures, evictions, elephant tramplings and issues concerning the government and the police. India bans all radio except the government-run station.

They have a website which archives the content as well as a Twitter account (with 56 followers) and Facebook page. To record a message with the service call on (080) 4113 7280.

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Hello, Audacity

I keep hearing about Audacity so I thought I’d put up some links as a quick introduction for any audio-fans who, like me, have never used it. As ever, if you have any tips to help with future experiments in audio editing let us know.

Audacity is a free audio recorder and editor – find the site here and download the software for free. For audio journalists the most useful tools on Audacity are that you can: record live audio, edit MP3 files, cut and copy sounds, fade the volume up or down and remove static/hiss/hum and other background noises. It runs on Mac OS X, Window and GNU/Linux.

Audacity is opensource – their latest version is 1.3.12 and they also have a Wiki page where users can post and read tutorials, tips and troubleshooting help. These include everything from How to set up an ad hoc recording studio to  Making Ringtones. Also highlighted is the very thorough The Audacity To Podcast– a regular audio podcast about audio podcasting (with a focus on using Audacity).

I don’t think we’re quite up to removing noise and recording more than one podcast host so let’s take a step back.

After my success being talked through making an audio slideshow on iMovie by a kind American on YouTube, I thought I’d find a simple and straightforward tutorial for Audacity. The most obvious starting point would be to make podcast-grade audio material so here’s six minutes on how to do just that.

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